Almost Like Old Times

I did something this past week I hadn’t done in 6 months.  I went on a business trip!  I actually packed a bag and my broadcast equipment and drove 5 hours to Boone, Iowa and broadcast from the Farm Progress Show site. Six months ago that would not have seemed like a big deal but in our new COVID restricted world it seemed like a step back in time.  Traveling to farm events, seeing old friends and making new ones has been a big part of my 46 years of broadcasting.  I must admit that several times over those years travel had lost much of its appeal.  Like many things that have been taken away from us during this pandemic, travel suddenly seemed like a grand adventure again. It felt like I was getting something back that had been taken away from me.  It of course wasn’t exactly the same.  I packed disinfectant spray and wipes, wore a mask and maintained as much social distancing as possible.  The Farm Progress Show, like many other events this year, will be a virtual show.  I have been covering the Farm Progress Show since 1976 and have a lot of memories of past shows.  Never did I expect to have one like this.  On what would have been opening day for this year’s show there was only a few people on the grounds instead of thousands.  Field demos were taking place with only a small farmer panel on hand and cameras to record the equipment’s performance.  Those recordings will be available later this month for all to see but it won’t be quite the same.  In some ways it will actually be better as viewers can pick the times they watch and probably see things they wouldn’t had if they had been there.  What of course is missing, as is the case with many things today, is the experience of actually being there and interacting face to face with others about the experience as it takes place.  I’m thankful we have the technology to hold virtual events.  I’d hate to think how isolated we’d feel without it and I have no doubt that it will be used much more even after COVID.  Still it’s not quite the same.  My little trip to Iowa helped remind me of things I had taken for granted and how much I missed them.  Hopefully this pandemic will be over soon and while our lives may never be completely like they used to be perhaps in some ways they will be better.  One of those ways will be to have a greater appreciation for things we used to take for granted and try to not let it happen again.